Interviews & References
Once we have received your application form we will approach your referees and arrange a suitable interview date and time. The interviews are a chance for us to get to know you and, ideally, match you with a suitable service user.
References should have known you for at least two years and cannot be family members. We understand that some people are facing unusual circumstances or are new to the country, in these situations referees should have known you for at least six months and at least one should be from a professional person, such as a social worker, employer or immigration officer.
You may be required to complete a police check through the VCC if you are working with vulnerable service users at any time during the course of your voluntary work. Volunteers working with children need to complete a check before they begin. The cost of these checks are covered by the VCC.
There is an initial trial period of six weeks after which a second interview will be arranged if mutual suitability is agreed you will be given full volunteer status. This is also an opportunity to discuss any support or training needs and any difficulties you have encountered in your role so far.
Training & Support
The VCC recognises the value of volunteers and their right to training and support. We provide tailored training for all volunteers working in the mental health field, for our receptionists and for Wheelchair pushing.
Group Support sessions are run three to four times each year. Dates are provided in our newsletters and displayed on our Volunteer’s notice board and in our reception area.
The sessions are open to all our volunteers. This is an opportunity for you to meet other volunteers and share knowledge and experiences. Each session provides an opportunity for an informal get together and an opportunity to learn from our training and/or our speaker. Topics covered are relevant to all our volunteers and include subjects like Heath & Safety, Fire Awareness, Mental Health, etc. Talks may be given by organisations like the Stroke Association, MacMillan nurses, Carers Lewisham and so on.
It is a part of your commitment as a volunteer to attend these sessions. We vary the times of these support meetings to ensure everyone can attend.
Individual Support is provided by your Organiser on an appointment basis. Thursday is the drop-in day when volunteers can see their Organiser. However, appointments will take precedence.
Wheelchair pushing training is provided by the Organiser before your placement begins by appointment and lasts approximately half an hour. This also provides an opportunity for volunteers to see if it will be a task they can physically manage.
Mental Health Awareness Training is provided to all volunteers supporting a service user or service users with Mental Health difficulties. Grove Centre Social Club volunteers also attend a monthly support/development session run by an experienced mental health practitioner. These sessions are compulsory to their role at the club.
Training for Receptionists is on site and informal, with new volunteers receiving support from experienced volunteers and staff. Further training and support sessions occur periodically and all reception volunteers are expected to attend.
Other Support is provided in the form of a counselling line. Your Organiser will provide you with this number and access code on request as well as printing this in our newsletters from time to time.
Beginning your Voluntary Work
Before you begin your voluntary role you will be given a volunteers declaration form asking you to read your task description, volunteers handbook, confidentiality statement and notes for drivers. You will need to sign this declaration as proof that you understand your responsibilities and equally, the organisations responsibilities to you.
Expenses are reimbursed for travel and telephone calls and other reasonable costs upon the production of receipts. Volunteer expense forms are available from the Organisers. Forms should be handed in/posted two days before collection. Please ensure you claim your expense before they exceed £12 or a 4 week period.
Volunteers who work more than four hours in a day are entitled to claim up to £2.50 in lunch expenses. The current rate of reimbursement for volunteer drivers is 38p a mile and 25p a mile after fifty miles.
Insurance is provided to all volunteers between the ages of 16-70 to cover them for the tasks they carry out that have been agreed by the Centre.
Volunteer drivers who have agreed to transport passengers for the Centre must give permission for the Coordinator to inform their insurance company that they intend to carry passengers in a voluntary capacity. In our experience, insurance companies do not charge any extra – it is simply a matter of being informed.
The Voluntary Care Centre takes responsibility for the health & Safety and well-being of all its staff, volunteers and service users. We are, therefore, willing to handle any issues or difficulties (including insurance) that may arise relating to the Organisation’s operations and activities.
Health & Safety
Risk assessments have been carried out on all voluntary roles and volunteers will be given risk assessment notes to help them perform allocated tasks safely. A copy of the VCC’s Health & Safety policy is available on this website.
Dismissals and Complaints
Certain types of behaviour by volunteers would be considered gross misconduct and may result in dismissal without notice. These include;
Theft or damage to Centre or users’ property
Carrying out voluntary work whilst being under the influence of alcohol or non-prescribed drugs
Violent, aggressive or abusive behaviour towards others
Sexual or racial harassment
Any complaint about a volunteer’s behaviour/conduct will be thoroughly investigated. The volunteer has the right to appeal against any disciplinary action taken against them.
While we hope that any volunteers working within the Voluntary Care Centre will have a happy and fulfilling experience, we realise that sometimes problems do arise. Although we would hope that all problems could be settled informally, we do recognise that the Grievance procedure may need to be used.
Complaints & Criticisms
The VCC believes that volunteers have every right to make complaints or criticisms on matters which cause them concern in the course of their voluntary work. All complaints will be considered extremely carefully and investigated fully.
In the first instance, any volunteer wishing to make a complaint should raise the matter with the Organiser who will investigate and resolve the issue if possible.
If the volunteer feels dissatisfied with the result, the matter will be referred to the Manager who will arrange a meeting with the volunteer. The volunteer has the right to be accompanied by a friend at the meeting.
During the course of the investigation of any complaint, such matters will be treated confidentially and will be discussed only with those immediately concerned.
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Fundraising Auction 2012, can you help?
VCC is planning a Charity auction later in 2012 and are looking for assistance as well as items for the auction...